A Mother in Mannville Questions and Answers
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

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Why does the narrator in "A Mother In Mannville" have no name?

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The short story "A Mother in Mannville" follows the narrator as she meets a young man named Jerry who claims to be receiving gifts from his mother, who has gone away and left him at the orphanage. At the very end of the story, it is revealed that Jerry has been untruthful and has no mother at all. 

The story is written in the first person, from the narrator's point of view. This allows the author, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, to seamlessly hide the fact that the audience never finds out who the narrator is. While the exact reason for not knowing the narrator's name is never explicitly stated within the story, there is a reason that can be inferred based on context.

The reason the audience never finds out the narrator's name is simply because Rawlings wanted to let the reader experience the same thing the narrator experiences throughout the story. By not revealing the narrator's name, the reader can more easily put themselves in her shoes and feel the emotions right along with her. For example, in paragraph 49, it states: 

For a moment, finding that he had a mother shocked me as greatly as anything in my life has ever done, and I did not know why it disturbed me. Then I understood my distress. I was filled with a passionate resentment that any woman should go away and leave her son.

This passage, and several others like it, is designed to allow the reader to feel the same thing the narrator feels. The reader is not looking at this situation through someone else's eyes but rather through their own.

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